American Angels of Mercy: Dr. Anita Newcomb McGee's Pictorial Record of the Russo-Japanese War, 1904

Welcome, American Angels of Mercy

Dr. McGee and nurses on hotel steps in Yokohama

"Welcome, American Angels of Mercy" read the banners that greeted Dr. McGee and her volunteer nurses on their arrival in Tokyo. McGee, along with the nine nurses, Minnie Cooke, Mary E. Gladwin, Alice Kemmer, Ella B. King, Elizabeth R. Kratz, Adelaide Mackareth, Adele Neeb, Sophia Newell and Genevieve Russell, were sponsored by the Society of Spanish-American War Nurses and the Red Cross Society of Philadelphia. Official guests of the Japanese government, the group left Tacoma, Washington on March 24th and arrived in Yokohama on the Shawmut on Apr. 21. They spent much of May in Tokyo with some excursions for inspecting hospitals and sightseeing. In late May the group was attached to the Military Reserve Hospital in Hiroshima, which became its main base of operations. On Jun. 9, the American volunteers toured the hospital ship Hakuai (Benevolence) Maru which had just returned from Korea. They also visited the large Russian prisoner of war hospital in Matsuyama, Japan, where many patients were cared for in temples and government buildings. In July the Hakuai Maru and Kosai (Charity) Maru began ferrying the nurses to Korea where they visited hospitals on the Yalu River - Antung on the Manchurian side and Wiju on the Korean side. By mid-August the Americans returned to Hiroshima, McGee travelling on the Kobe Maru hospital ship. Many of the photographs taken by war correspondent Herbert Ponting show McGee and the American nurses working in this large hospital complex which could hold over 10,000 men. In October all ten volunteers were decorated by the Emperor Meiji. The following month they returned to the United States. Upon arriving on the west coast, McGee was appointed an official Army attaché and returned to Japan in December.